Living Abroad

Ruth & I have become enamored of some foreign destinations and have decided it would be fun to stay longer than, say, 2 weeks. Wouldn’t it be delightful to live in London or Melbourne or Singapore for a 3 month season to see what it’s like to have constant exposure to another culture for a longer period of time and, perhaps, feel more like a native and culturally comfortable? But is that legally desirable and feasible? I recall talking to a snowbird couple from Canada in Quartzsite, AZ. They had come for the mild desert weather and shopping but had to go to Mexico for 2 weeks to legally qualify for their US residence and avoid paying taxes to 2 countries.

The Canadian couple we met returned to the US each year for part of the winter but had to be very careful to avoid overstaying and thus being considered residents responsible to pay US taxes as permanent residents. Under the Substantial Presence Test, the US’s IRS considers Canadians residents of the US for tax purposes if they are in the US for 31 days in the current calendar year and 183 days total in a 3 year period including this year and the 2 previous ones. This sounds very generous but amounts to 61 days per year. If your total over the 3-year-period is 182 days or fewer, you will not be considered US residents for tax purposes under current laws. This must be carefully watched and considered by Canadians while planning a US stay as a snowbird, and how do a global pandemic and closed borders legally affect you? That will surely have to be determined, and it could get more complicated.

How long can a citizen of a foreign country normally stay in the USA? If you enter the US on a visa waiver from a foreign country, your maximum stay is 90 days. With a B-2 tourist visa, you can be allowed to stay for up to 6 months and an extension can be applied for. The big concerns of US Customs and Border Protection officials are that you might be a terrorist or a criminal, could be a threat to public health and safety, or might possibly seek a job and work illegally. These concerns are probably being monitored like never before and rightly so, and how do officials who are charged with following the rules administer them? It does get very complicated.

Knowing the rules to live in a foreign culture for an extended period of time is essential.


About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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